About Maria

Dr. Maria Katsamanis has received worldwide recognition as a horse trainer, clinician, exhibition rider, and author. She holds a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.   Dr. Katsamanis has worked with many different breeds and has also had the privilege of training the rare Marwari horses of India.   She has participated as a display rider in Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee at Windsor Castle. Dr. Katsamanis is co-author of “The Alchemy of Lightness” (Trafalgar Square Publishing, 2013) that introduces the concept of molecular equitation to the equestrian community. She writes prolifically and is also a regular columnist in the journal, “Warmbloods Today.” She has also founded the non-profit organization, The Pegasus Foundation,  www.thepegasusfoundation.org  and continues to maintain an appointment as a Clinical Assistant Professor at Rutgers Medical School. With a formal education as a clinical scientist she is able to help demystify and explain elements of this formula where magic seemingly occurs, that are key in helping us establish the ultimate connection with our horses. Her explanations of the barriers and myths that block the path between horse and rider frees them making the dance accessible to anyone regardless of age or breed. Her equine background is broad. She studied in Greece, France, and the United States. Her early equestrian career included working as an exercise rider for a French racing barn. Dr. Katsamanis is a native of Greece. The mythology and folklore around the tradition of horsemanship made a significant mark early in her life. Her commitment to the classical tradition is longstanding and she continues to perfect her art. She maintains a residence on the island of Crete in the town of Gergeri but resides in the United States. She maintains an active and exclusive student base in New Jersey and continues to be sought out as a clinician both here and abroad.


Philosophy

Dr. Maria Katsamanis, “WHEN ART AND SCIENCE MEET TO HARNESS THE ULTIMATE CONNECTION”

The training foundation is based on classical French and Greek principles. These training methods have proven successful to numerous horses and riders across various riding disciplines. These techniques can be beneficial whether your pursuit is dressage, western riding, improved jumping, driving, endurance or experiencing a safer more fulfilling trail ride. Her specialization in classical French methods include in-hand work, advanced lunge-work and long-reining. The sequence always includes work-in hand, lungeing followed by riding to promote suppleness, strength and self-carriage (the 3 S’s). Maria has a longstanding commitment to studying equine and human physiology which is central in her training methods. Training focuses on the self-carriage of the horse and rider. Only in balance and relaxation can the correct muscle formation occur, physical blocks be dissipated and mental communication be facilitated. Each horse is treated as an individual and their education is tailored to their personality and physical profile—all with a solid foundation in a classical French recipe. Horsemanship is more than the horse. Horses are brought to us and challenge us to reconnect with ourselves. This reciprocal “helping” —helping of the horse, helping of the human often challenges people to find training methods that will help them grow with their equine mate. When she first meets a horse she sees a blueprint of what it will look like when the muscling, balance and comfort are established. The challenge of working with different breeds has allowed her to consider the physical and mental aspects of training in a completely novel way. Breathing behavior is a cornerstone feature for both the horse and the human. As a clinician she often utilizes her background in biofeedback and psychophysiology to “connect” humans with their own body signals. She has a deep passion and dedication to the well-being of the horses, preserving their dignity and advancing the art that is elegant and timeless.


About Farm

 

Amwell Ridge Farm in Ringoes, New Jersey serves as Maria’s homebase. Along with longtime colleague Jean-Paul Murat they offer training, boarding, sales and clinic services.  Learn more about the farm and services at www.amwellridgefarm.com

***Dr. Katsamanis is currently accepting horses in training***

Both instructors work with riders in every discipline and with different breeds, all with identical objectives in mind- the physical and mental wellness of the horse. Both Maria and Jean-Paul have a shared commitment to the welfare of the horse and are open to meet different budgets for individuals looking for instruction and training.

JP Murat is a graduate of the French National School in Saumur, France. He has over 35 years experience specializing in competing and teaching around jumping and eventing. He has taken many students to A-rated major shows in the East coast show circuit. Murat’s philosophy appreciates correct flatwork to enhance the horse’s physical and mental wellness in their jumping.

Horses deemed as “difficult” are welcomed; experience with stallion handling.

Amwell Ridge Farm is the ideal setting for horse and human alike. European equestrian tradition in a pictureque country setting.

Stables/Stall Board/Field Board Available

Indoor Ring
*80 x 180 river sand footing/jumps

Outdoor Ring
*100 x 200 river sand footing/jumps

Turn Out
*Grass fields
*PVC and split rail fencing
*Individual or small groups
*Fly spray and boots as needed
*Horses are checked

Field Board
*Large grass fields with sheds

Barn Management lives on premises.

The farm sits on 131 preserved acres with spectacular views and miles of trails. Year round boarding, lessons and training is offered.
Located within 1/2 hr from Princeton. The farm is also within commuting distance to NYC and Philadelphia.

1445982639_FacebookFollow us on Facebook to keep posted on updates and events at our Farm location  https://www.facebook.com/amwellridgefarm


Marwari Stallion

His names means “brave one” in Hindi. Bahadur is a Marwari horse, one of the rarest equine breeds in existence. Through his partnership with his owner, Dr. Maria Katsamanis, the 6-year-old bay stallion is helping promote his breed and equine-based education, as well as call attention to animal welfare around the world.

There are less than 1,000 in the world like him and fewer than 30 that live outside of India, where the breed’s bloodlines trace back to Marwar, also known as Jodhpur, a region in the northwestern state of Rajasthan.

Descending from India’s war horses, his ancestors were the chosen breed of the nobility. Though built of average size, his exotic heritage comes sharply into view with an upward glance at his ears, which curl inwardly until their tips touch. Averaging 15 to 16 hands (a hand equals 4 inches), Marwari horses represent a variety of colors, including bay, chestnut, gray, black, piebald or skewbald. Their unique physical trait of inward-curling ears – which produce a shape that draws comparisons to a heart are thought to protect the animal in sandstorms.

Bred to be hardy and agile, Marwari horses are a versatile breed and can excel in a number of areas, including endurance riding, eventing and dressage. Widipedia describes their temperament as “hardy and ease keepers but they can also be of tenacious and unpredictable temperaments.”

Today, Marwari horses are no longer barreling down on armies and their elephants, but Bahadur is building a legacy just like his predecessors exchanging sandy battlefields for the grassy knolls of Hunterdon County. These days Bahadur, or “Baba” as he is affectionately called at the barn resides at Amwell Ridge Farm in Ringoes, New Jersey. He is a good teacher for students interested in advancing their in-hand techniques. He is the source of inspiration for the column “The Buzz from Baba” in the online journal titled “L’Equitation Molecular.”

For more information on the breed, enthusiasts are encouraged to review the following sites: http://horseindian.com and http://www.marwarimovie.com

Click here to read more about Bahadur.


Interviews

Interview with Dr. Maria Katsamanis Jane Savoie Radio Program

Click Here to Listen


History

This is a revised version of a school report written by a 12 year old girl found on the Internet. From the mouth of babes! The link could not be located and so the original author will remain anonymous. greek-horse-history-classical-dressage-greece The philosophy and culture of early Greece (700 BC- 393 AD) created a nurturing environment in which classical horsemanship further developed. The Greek society encouraged the study of classical horsemanship since it incorporated balance, light, symmetry and knowledge. Greek society was home to many great horse people such as Simon, Xenophon and Alexander the Great. Simon was a professional trainer of both the horse and the rider. Not much is known about him except that he was very knowledgeable about equine anatomy. Simon wrote many books on the subject but only fragments of these books have been found. Alexander the Great was a talented horseman. Once, as a young man, while looking at horses with his father, he encountered a horse that many people considered to be crazy. This was because of the animal’s lack of trust in humans. The breed of horse is thought to have been an Akhal-Teke. Alexander quickly surmised that Bucephalus was afraid of his own shadow. It is said that Alexander Bucephalus to face the sun and the horse settled down. Xenophon was considered to be the premier horseman of Greek society. Most experts agree that it was Xenophon who created the art of dressage. Xenophon was a cavalry officer who lived from 430 to 355 BC. He wrote a number of books about horse breeding, hunting, and the art of riding. He also developed a theory regarding the correct psychological approach to handling horses. Two of Xenophon’s best-known works include Hipparchikos, “The Horsemen’s Guide”, and Peri Hippikes, “On Horse Riding”. All of his works are based on one concept: the necessity of trying to understanding a horse’s natural aptitude and temperament, so that brute force is not needed to control the mount. This can be done by understanding the horse’s inner nature. Xenophon was the first to regard the horse as a partner and not as a slave. All of his theories combined are what define modern day dressage. For that period of time, the Greeks were thought to employ kinder, more gentle methods when controlling their horses. They rode using a simple snaffle bit. Because the Greeks rode with a superb seat, they were able to use a less severe bit than their predecessors had. The rider’s seat was designed in such a way that if the horse was to theoretically vanish, the rider would remain in a balanced standing position. This is similar to the dressage seat of today. For their cavalry, the Greeks used horses that were obedient and easy to control with one hand. Usually, only stallions were used in battle because their center of balance was preferred over that of a mare. The Greek civilization contributed much to the study of classical horsemanship. This is because Greek society was comprised of many upper class people. It was also a society in which the pursuit of knowledge was valued. The Greeks had a great appreciation for all of the arts. Therefore, the Greeks were encouraged to spend the time and energy necessary for developing this art form. Question: What about women and horses in the ancient times? Answer: Women, in the Antiquities, were not allowed as participants in the Olympics. However, they were the designated horse trainers. The were responsible for preparing horses for competion, start to finish. In fact, it was considered a female endeavor to prepare and educate a horse for competition. However, they could not ride their own horses or even watch the race.


Testimonials

 

Over the years, Dr. Maria Katsamanis has worked with a wide variety of horses, students, and peers in the equestrian profession. Here are just a few of the responses she has received from those who she has worked with and who admire her work and ability.

“Dr. Katsamanis has dedicated herself to preserving the dignity of the horse. She encourages the humans she works with to put the horse first and to approach it with the question, “What can I do for you?” rather than “What can you do for me?” It has been transformative for me as a person to witness her work. Seeing “problem” horses become peaceful and lame horses restored to health has inspired me to work to become a better human, more open to what’s possible, more connected to what’s happening now, and more at peace with the past.

Maria’s knowledge and skills have been honed over many years, and her way of being with horses is not a method, a formula, or a quick fix. It can’t be easily marketed and packaged. Yet it calls to people, to riders and horses of all disciplines, from dressage to Western pleasure to jumpers. Maria has dedicated herself not only to the proper training and development of the horses under her care but also to inspiring people to pursue a kinder, deeper, and more empirically grounded way of being with them. Through her writings, clinics, training, and her foundation, she offers the horse industry a way of being that is different, but not new, a way of being that is timeless, but that we keep forgetting and reinventing, a way of being that preserves the dignity of the horse and offers both horse and human an opportunity to reach their fullest potential.”        Heather Faller

 

“The ideal relationship between a horse and a human would be a place where they are both physically and mentally comfortable.” I have deep respect and admiration for my friend, Dr. Maria Katsamanis Her sensitivity to the horse, her compassion and above all, the regard she has for a horse’s dignity, are unique and hard to find in the world of horse sport. I usually don’t do this but reading as many FB posts as I do, written by people who are unhappy with the care and training of their horses, here is a recommendation for a trainer who will help your horse to a remarkable place in life and help you in developing the kind of relationship you have always dreamed of having with your horse and partner.”        Ralph Suarez

“If you happen to catch her with her horses and she doesn’t know you are around she is always singing to them, and if she trusts you she sings in front of you smile that must be her secret weapon! Reminds me of a greek muse or something lol It’s a privilege to have her in my horses life. She understands them deeply AND she cares about seeing owners connect…not just her. I have yet to meet a professional that is as talented but can break things down (for those who care to listen). My horse was a basket case at another FEI’s trainer before I met her. She came recommended and I was hesitant to work with her because she does not formally show. Thank GOD I did not listen to them. Horses transform with her. It’s weird…but i’ve seen them over and over and she takes normal everyday horses to look beautiful She says they are masterpieces. she is right!”        Joanna Dupres  

“Thank you so much, Maria for getting Georgie and I ready for our first dressage show. It was a long road of hard work, patience, and kindness that brought Georgie and I closer together with a solid connection and closer relationship. I often hear-“It is all about the journey” and it truly was and continues to be that for us.”        Linda Watson  

“What a wonderful day at the barn with Maria! She is such a miracle worker and Cappy trusts her completely and gives her whatever she asks. Thanks to her compassionate care, he has transformed from a tense, anxious horse into an elegant, magnificent creature!!”        Wendy Hess

“Congrats to our trainer, Dr. Katsamanis for winning trainer of the year. That award doesn’t even touch her! She is an amazing trainer and I am also proud to call her my friend. She has taught me so much about me and my horse in the little time we have been with her it’s amazing. Although Joe and I had our share of ups and downs she made me realize God gave him to me for a reason. We both needed and saved each other. She has taught me to listen to him since he has so much to say and how to communicate better with him. Thanks to her we are one.   Today you thanked me for being opened minded and taking a chance. When in reality I should be thanking you. You took a chance on me too. I was not in the best of places mentally with my horse and although he & I were working through our demons, deep down I knew we needed some help. Although he is still teaching me that he wants me to be correct, I am so happy with the progress that we have made. Never did I think I could ride w/o spurs and actually have him listen and me not be exhausted. You have gotten me to do things I thought I would never be able to do. Riding him now I feel like I have a goal and a partner again. People I talk to look at me funny when I say that I have a dressage trainer b/c I ride western but when I them about you they are amazed. It’s not about the discipline, its about the person and what they bring to the table. You are a talented trainer for all disciplines and thanks to you, my boy and I will be one and he will get the training he needs to be the best horse he can.”        Michelle Sabba

“Maria you’re amazing!!!”        Alicia Anguera Roca from Barcelona, Spain

“Remembering H when he first arrived. What a difference!!! Dr. Maria I have seen you transform horses over and over again. Congratulations Trainer of the Year Dressage DVHA!!!”        Helene Hylander

“Since I started to work my horses under Maria’s way something has changed in my relationship and my approach to them, now I know that they are ready to show you and give you full trust when we treat them with kindness and looking always for their comfort and happiness.”         Mario Calcagno from Barcelona, Spain